The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is the main government institution responsible for creating a strong framework for more jobs, promoting social inclusion and maintaining stable social security systems. By fulfilling this mandate, the Ministry has developed the Social Protection Policy, and it was approved by the Cabinet in September 2019. This policy will contribute to the current Social Development Roadmap and National Development Plan 9 (2020-2024). Social Protection is an important part of the FGS strategy to fight poverty and promote resilience. This is enshrined in the Provisional Constitution of Somalia (2012), which provides for the rights of all persons to access economic and social rights, including SP and the protection of particularly vulnerable groups.
The Social Protection Policy is oriented toward an ambitious long-term vision, from a perspective of 20 years. By 2040, Somalia will have progressively established a functional social protection system which delivers predictable assistance through the lifecycle, according to a consensus across Somali society identifying the most vulnerable.
Vulnerability in Somalia is multidimensional and poor households are more likely to be deprived beyond monetary poverty, including literacy and education attainment, labour force participation, access to quality housing and improved water and sanitation. For example, nearly half of the population does not reach the average consumption of food items, confirming the dire living standards of most Somalis. Thus, in addition to seven in ten people being below the poverty line, a further one in ten people are vulnerable to falling below the poverty line during a shock. In this context, the Shock Responsive Safety Net for Human Capital Project (SNHCP) –BAXNAANO builds a bridge beyond the humanitarian approach, addressing Somalia’s immediate food security and nutrition issues, while also laying the foundations for human capital investment over the longer-term.
The Objective of the project is to provide cash transfers to targeted poor and vulnerable households and establish the key building blocks of a national shock-responsive safety net system. The SNHCP provides poor and vulnerable households nutrition-linked cash transfers to meet their immediate consumption gaps and protect against food insecurity and malnutrition risks. With a view toward longer-term development, it also supports efforts by the FGS to strengthen institutional resilience and establish the basic delivery mechanisms of a national social safety net (SSN) system. The project has targeted 200,000 poor and vulnerable households (approximately 1.2 million individuals) across Somalia with nutrition-linked cash transfers.
The backbone of an effective and scalable Social Protection system is a social registry. Several humanitarian and development agencies maintain separate lists of beneficiaries, but these are not linked, raising concerns of effectiveness and targeting. The development of social registry managed by the Government of Somalia would mean having a consolidated beneficiary list across programs, enhancing coordination and collaboration and improving efficiencies. This would also serve as the first step toward a national social registry that in the future can also be used for coordinated service delivery to the poor and vulnerable and emergency assistance, thereby bridging existing humanitarian and development efforts. The project builds confidence in nationhood and support for good governance. This is best achieved if the government is perceived as providing fairly for its citizens.
- Providing cash transfers to targeted poor and vulnerable households and establish the key building blocks of a national shock-responsive safety net system.
- Supporting households to strengthen their resilience and avoid negative coping mechanisms to meet escalating needs because of the recurring shocks in the short term.
- Promoting human capital investment in the medium to long term by linking beneficiary households to complimentary nutrition services and continuing to smooth consumption gaps through the predictable and reliable provision of cash transfer, even after shock risks are no longer present.
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